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Shortening course

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Post Options Post Options   Quote piglet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 3:08pm

Transient,

Bearing in mind that shortening part lap would only work on lap average racing if all boats had sailed the same number of laps.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 4:51pm
When I ran races at my old club, where the number of laps was never fixed in advance for club races, we always used to aim to do the shorten course signal as soon as the boat we were shortening for rounded the last mark - minimised the room for misunderstanding. Difficulties arose since the fleet was mixed - you might have a Spitfire following a Pico and you wanted the Spitfire  to do another lap, but not the Pico. Sometimes we used class flags with the S, but that wasn't always understood, so generally when that happened we had to wait for the Spitfire to cross the line (hopefully well ahead of the Pico) and then signal - not ideal but it generally worked OK for club racing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GML Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 15 at 5:00pm
Originally posted by transient

Interesting. It all seems clear.

Always something to learn. I was not aware that the RO could signal "shorten course" at any point. I shall probably still use that signal on the last leg for club races because the boats are closer to the race office, they can see and hear the signals clearer. Nice to know I don't have to though.

Not sure exactly what you have in mind, but unless your SIs say otherwise, you can't shorten the course at a mark or gate by displaying flag S at the race office - you have to display flag S at the mark or gate. (Otherwise how will competitors know which mark or gate is the new finish line?)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 15 at 2:55am

Originally posted by piglet

Thanks Jim & Rupert, 
For my own peace of mind I would like clarification on the RRS/RO manual interpretations. 
Has anyone done any recent RO training?

 

Quite neatly and presumably sufficiently authoritatively put in the RYA RM Guide you cited, p51

 SHORTEN COURSE FLAG S

When this signal is displayed, with two sound signals, the course is shortened. This means that the course which was displayed at the warning signal has one or more legs cut off.   

See also

 

RYA Appeal 2001/6

Rule 28.1, Sailing the Course

Rule 32.2, Shortening or Abandoning After the Start

When a course is shortened, the finishing line is at the line or to the mark that is nearest to the finishing vessel. If the shorten-course signal is made when boats still have to round other marks before they would reach the new finishing line, they shall sail so as to leave those marks on the required side and in the correct order, unless the sailing instructions make some other provision.

 

 

Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by piglet

My understanding of shortening has always been: 
RO makes the shorten signal BEFORE the 1st boat to be finished rounds the last mark of the course, thus allowing finishing boats to make tactical decisions on their last leg before they start sailing it.
 

Not true any more. Used to be the case, but now they can put the flag up any time before the lead boat crosses the line. 

 

I don't think the rules ever said that.

 

Old (pre 1995) rule 5 covered all of signalling the course (present rule 27.1), abandoning (present rule 32.1) shortening the course (present rule 32.2) and changing a leg (present rule 33).

 

Old rule 5.4( c ) dealt with shortening the course and just referred to the signal being given 'at a rounding mark', while 5.4( b ) for changing a leg, required notice to be given to each yacht before she begins the changed leg.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Buzz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 15 at 11:19am
During evening racing when the wind is dying we sometimes shorten course at the windward mark and the boats would sail directly to the finish line.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 15 at 3:14pm
I've finished races with the lead boat very near the line, but only when the line is either part of the course, or boats are going to be sailing through it on their way to the next mark anyway. Otherwise, I'll always shorten before the last mark. Last night, it was possible to sail up the far bank, missing the ODM by a good 50 yards. Giving the shortening early was the only fair method of truncating the race.

It also gave a chance for those just about to be lapped by the leader to cross just behind, not in front, and so get an average lap time and more time in the pub.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GML Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 15 at 12:06pm
Originally posted by Rupert

I've finished races with the lead boat very near the line, but only when the line is either part of the course, or boats are going to be sailing through it on their way to the next mark anyway. Otherwise, I'll always shorten before the last mark. Last night, it was possible to sail up the far bank, missing the ODM by a good 50 yards. Giving the shortening early was the only fair method of truncating the race.

Just to be really clear about this - unless your SIs make explicit provision to shorten the course in some other way, you can ONLY shorten course at a line or mark that is part of the existing course. That is to say the new finish line has to be at a line or mark that the boats were already going to sail through or round as part of the original course. Unless your SIs say otherwise, if boats don't have to go through the start/finish line on each lap then you can't shorten course at that line, even if you signal that you are shortening course "before the last mark". So what do your SIs say?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 15 at 12:27pm
Its what the club have done for the past 40 years or so for pretty much every race that has been run, so even if it isn't in the SIs (I'd have to check) it is certainly expected by the competitors.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 15 at 11:59pm
Looking at RRS 63.1 just now reminded me of why some of these problems arise.  Far too often RCs score a boat DSQ or DNC when it sails the wrong course without following the correct procedure.  As long as the boat has finished:

'A boat finishes when any part of her hull, or crew or equipment in normal position, crosses the finishing line from the course side',

Then any breach of Rule 28 requires a Protest, either by a competitor or the Race Committee.  One would hope that, when notified, the competitor would Retire After Finishing, but that can not be relied upon.  I lost second place at a major event when I did not take action, assuming that the RC would.

And in the OP in this case the correct procedure would have been a Protest.......but even the RC has to comply with time limits.  Has there been one some facts might have been identified and a decision made.  Without one the only recourse is a hope that the infringing (or not!) boat will do the decent thing and retire.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 15 at 2:34am
Note that rule 32.2 is carefully designed so that if course is shortened in accordance with it (and not some home grown SI), that any boat sailing the full course will automatically pass through the finishing line (as long as the RC doesn't put the finishing boat the wrong side of a rounding mark.

I would take issue with the RYA guidance on shortening.

It doesn't really take all that much careful consideration to decide to shorten:  course should be shortened so that majority of competitors can get a scoring finish.

Only at pretty sophisticated levels are the tactics sailing on a 'finishing leg' any different from the tactics to finish as soon as possible on any other leg.  I think it's perfectly OK for the race committee to be watching how the middle and back end of the fleet is getting round the preceding mark as the determinant for shortening, even if this leads to the shorten signal being given just as the leaders are approaching the short finishing line.
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